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TIME magazine article


The author of the article refers to a DOUBLING of the risk of suicidality (from 2% to 4%) as "slight". The author also cites a gradual increase in suicides from 2000-2009, apparently in support of the theory that awareness of the black box warning has scared people away from antidepressants, resulting in an increase in suicides.


This is problematic, firstly, because the black box warning on SSRI's did not even come about until 2004.  From 2004 to 2009, more appropriately and more specifically, the suicide rate increased from 11 to 11.7 per 100K. ( https://www.afsp.org/understanding-suicide/facts-and-figures )


So a 6.4% increase in the suicide rate over 5 years is noteworthy, according to the author, but a 100% increase in suicidality on SSRI's versus placebo is "slight"? 


Matters get worse for this sophistry - much worse.  From the period of 1999-2000 until 2009-2010, antidepressant usage increased from 6.5% to 10.4% of the general population. ( http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24345349 ). So during the period when people were supposedly scared away from SSRI's, their use increased by 60%. 


Oh yeah, and by the way, that also means that during the period when suicides increased by 6.4%, antidepressant use was on the rise, too.  No surprise, seeing as how the manufacturers' own clinical trial data showed a doubling of the risk of suicidality on SSRI's versus placebo.


Based on actual scientific data, a better article would not have examined whether to remove the black box warning of suicidality on SSRI's, but rather whether we should replace SSRI's as the standard of care for depression with a sugar pill.


Furthermore, the author does not tell us who the 11 psychiatrists were who recommended removing the black box warning (whereas she does tell us that 3 of the 4 in favor of the black box warning were involved in the FDA's original decision to adopt the warning), so we cannot cross-check for conflicts of interest among those psychiatrists in favor of removing the black box warning.